I’ve been avoiding this blog pretty bad lately. I’ll tell you why.
One of my life list items is: Take a Picture of Everything I Love in San Francisco. I said that I could cross this one off the list when I finally moved out of SF and had a picture of everything I loved about it.
This has now happened. 9 weeks ago in fact. But I can’t bring myself to post these pictures. I had always imagined the post where I write about moving out of SF and chronicling everything about it as a bittersweet one. But bittersweet implies a sweetness that I just don’t feel. I kinda feel stuck in the bitter part.
I did not want to move out of San Francisco. San Francisco is my home, and it has been for a decade. We own two businesses there, I go to school there, I have an internship there, Michael and I have never lived anywhere else together, we got married in Golden Gate Park and I just simply love the hell out of that city. I know how to get around, I know where to shop, I know where to eat, I know shortcuts and secret parks and even secret hikes. But a series of events lead to Michael and I having no choice but to leave this city that has seriously changed since we arrived 10 years ago.
That series of events is basically two things. The first was our landlord revoking our rights to have roommates and thus having no help with our rent. Which would have been ok without the second thing- which was me going to grad school and not having any financial support through it. Grad school was more time-demanding than I ever thought possible, and San Francisco is not a place where you can really carry a family on one income. Not to mention trying to find a cheaper apartment in SF was nearly impossible as rents have raised ASTRONOMICALLY since we moved here. For example, after we moved out of our Corbett St. house the rent was raised over a grand for the next tenant. Even when we did find apartments we could afford in SF, there was so much competition that people who were more well-off than us would offer to pay over the asking rent price or pay a years’ rent in advance- things we just couldn’t do with our type of income.
So we’ve moved to Oakland. Oakland’s cool. It really isn’t bad. I live near some of my best friends, I have a place to garden out back, and cool stuff is always going on here. Plus I’m saving a lot of money and it was clearly the adult thing to do. But it’s not home. San Francisco has been the only place I’ve ever felt I belonged. My house that I’ve been in for so many years with Michael was our home. Just being there I felt like I had loving, comforting arms around me. I think if I had wanted to leave, if I had been ready to leave, this wouldn’t be so hard. But I go to SF everyday for work and I hate it. I see the beautiful Panhandle trees and my Sutro tower hill and just curse it. I told some friends the other day when we were walking through Alamo square and they were commenting on the beautiful houses, that being in SF is like being on the inside of an ex’s house who you’re still in love with. Those walls, they used to be mine. Now I don’t belong anymore. Everything I look at in that damn city just cuts through my heart.
All I think about all day long is how I can get back there. I even dream about it at night. But it’s impossible. This city that I am so invested in with businesses and school and internships won’t have me. It feels so unfair. But it’s just the way it is. And my boo-hooing won’t change it. Eventually I will get to the final stage of grief, acceptance, and when I do, you’ll see my pictures. At the moment I’m still cycling through bargaining (there’s got to be SOME way I can get back to that city), and depression (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come home and flopped onto Michael’s lap and just cried for hours about how much I miss SF).
In the mean time, I asked an artist named Jacinto Castillo to paint our SF house so that I would never forget it. It’s beautiful and I can’t tell if having this is helping or hurting but at the moment it’s all that makes me feel better.